- APRIL -
Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month - Why April?
The 20th Century is often referred to as the “Century of Genocide.” Unfortunately, this trend has continued into the 21st Century. Many of these genocides either began in April or include significant events which occurred in April.
The Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center and area educators work with students to raise awareness about these genocides and help them remember those who were lost as a result of “man’s inhumanity to man.” To this end, HHREC sponsors an annual student contest.
HHREC 2023 Student Contest Awards; Participating Schools and Winning Students
Congratulations to the winners of our annual Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month Student Contest. HHREC received 85 submissions from schools located in Westchester County, NY, from around the U.S, and from Canada. These schools included:
- Rotolo Middle School in Batavia, Illinois
- Union County Vocational Technical High School, New Jersey
- Greenwich High School, Greenwich, Connecticut
- South Kamloops Secondary School, British Columbia, Canada
- John Jay High School, Katonah-Lewisboro, New York
- Byram Hills High School, Armonk
- Woodlands Middle/High School, Greenburgh, New York
The winning students:
Grades 7 & 8
Lev Schlamann – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art, “In Memory of the Holodomor
Cailey Salzman – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art, “The Reflection” commemorating the Armenian Genocide
Izzy Leslie – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “A Memorial for the Holodomor Genocide
Meghan Burke – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia Illinois; Original Art – “The Rwandan Genocide Memorial”
Will Dickerson – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “Shattered Glass” commemorating the Cambodian Genocide
Barbara Macias – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Poetry – “Darfurian Genocide Haikus”
Michael Slattery – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “100 Days, 800,000 Deaths” commemorating the Rwandan Genocide
Nadia Semanision – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “Armenian Genocide Memorial Garden”
Sophia Chin – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “Killing Fields, Killing People” commemorating the Cambodian Genocide
Annishiya Pulikkottil Sam – Woodlands Middle/High School – Greenburgh, New York
Original Art – “Breaking the Divide” commemorating the Holocaust
Paige Cox – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “100 Days” commemorating the Rwandan Genocide
Malena Diamond – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “Rohingya Refugees”
Lylah Jakubiak – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois; Original Art – “Burdening Weight” commemorating the plight of the Rohingya
Grades 9 & 10
Renee Chin – Greenwich High School - Fairfield County, Connecticut; Original Digital Art – “Lost Identity” commemorating the Rwandan Genocide
Murphy Bennett – Greenwich High School – Fairfield County, Connecticut; Original Art/Collage – “The Rwandan Divide”
Remi Aaron – John Jay High School – Westchester County, New York; Original Art – “Tree of Life, Life of Hope” commemorating the Holocaust
Heidi Farnum – Greenwich High School – Fairfield County, Connecticut; Original Art/Collage – “The Children Lost Again” commemorating Indigenous Children in North American Residential Schools”
Grades 11 & 12
Elias McDonald – South Kamloops Secondary School – British Columbia, Canada; Original Art – “Never Seen (Again) commemorating the Indigenous People of Turtle Island
Abigail Castellanos – Union County Vocational Technical High School, New Jersey; Original Art – “Roses of Reflection” commemorating homosexuals targeted during the Holocaust
Steph Tynan – South Kamloops Secondary School – British Columbia, Canada; Original Art – “The Beauty of a Mushroom” commemorating the Holocaust
Pauline Willemart – South Kamloops Secondary School – British Columbia, Canada; Original Art – “250,000 Faces” commemorating the victims of sexual assault during the Rwandan Genocide
McKenna Lien – South Kamloops Secondary School – British Columbia, Canada; Original Art – “May Death Take Better Care of You” commemorating the Uyghur Cultural Genocide
Wren Edwards – South Kamloops Secondary School – British Columbia, Canada; Original Art – “Ihor Novosilets Monument” commemorating the Holodomor
These students submitted an original project in visual arts, poetry, music, or other media of artistic expression that commemorates some aspect of a genocide which has occurred in the 20th or 21st centuries, including for example the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, the Bosnian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Genocide in Darfur, and many others. Please see World Without Genocide (www.worldwithoutgenocide.org) for a complete list.
All projects were evaluated by the Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center’s Co-Director of Education, Julie Scallero and Student Programming Coordinators, Jeanne Claire Cotnoir and Debbie Minchin.
HHREC has donated on the winners’ behalf to Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Their mission is to advance change in America by ensuring equitable access to nutritious food for all in partnership with food banks, policymakers, supporters, and the communities they serve.
HHREC Student Contest Description:
Students are invited to create and submit an original project in visual arts, poetry, music, or other media of artistic expression that commemorates some aspect of a genocide which has occurred in the 20th or 21st centuries.
Examples include the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, the Bosnian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Genocide in Darfur, and many others. Please see World Without Genocide for a complete list.
HHREC donates on the winners’ behalf to the Afya Foundation, a Westchester-based organization. Afya provides an environmentally-sensitive, community-oriented solution to help address the critical shortage of medical supplies in underserved communities around the world. Currently, they are working in partnership with US-Ukraine-Foundation and others to support the Ukrainian medical community and refugees seeking aid. Afya’s Disaster Response Hub has been preparing wound care, surgical equipment, and biomedical equipment to medical providers to ensure they have the supplies they need to care for wounded soldiers and civilians.
Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month - History
The 20th Century is often referred to as the “Century of Genocide” and reporting indicated we are continuing this century, as this NY Times article about the recent prosecution and conviction of a former Syrian official of Crimes Against Humanity reveals.
According to NPR News:
The Ottoman Turkish government began rounding up and murdering Armenian politicians and intellectuals. This was the first step in the extermination of more than a million Armenians.
10 Things You Can Do During Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month
Today, we continue to see evidence of crimes against humanity, including those that continue to occur in Ukraine, and we remain vigilant, as history has shown they are the foundations from which genocides have begun in the past.
- Practice being an Upstander: Sociologists report that people who rescued during the Holocaust often reported that altruistic actions were normal to their everyday lives. Build this habit into your life by doing something kind for someone else during the month. An act of kindness each day would be a honorable goal!
- Check with your local school or public library to discover what genocide resources are needed in its library and provide funding for one or two books.
- Attend the William H. Donat Shoah Commemoration April 25th at 7:00 p.m. at Iona University which will include a lecture by distinguished lecturer Dr. Deborah Dwork, Founding Director, Center for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Crimes Against Humanity, Ralph Bunche Institute for International studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Admission is free for more information visit William H. Donat Shoah Commemoration.
- Learn more about the Rwandan Genocide. April 6 marks the 29th anniversary of the start of this event. The Kigali Memorial Center offers documentation and survivor testimony of the genocide (Kigali Memorial Centre), and BBC offers an excellent overview of the events of the genocide. You can also learn how the country is commemorating the genocide from this current article.
- Learn about the Genocide Prevention Task Force by visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum/Genocide Prevention
- Visit the Genocide Watch website to learn about Dr. Gregory Stanton’s framework for examining genocide, the “10 Stages of Genocide”, and the recommended preventative steps you can take to stop genocide early.
- Learn more about the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), a relatively new doctrine that informs much of genocide prevention today on their website.
- Find a legislative champion to support designating April as Genocide Awareness and Protection Month in New York. California, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Ohio have designated April as Genocide Awareness Month.
- Listen to the personal histories of different genocides provided by the USC Shoah Foundation at Genocide Awareness Month.
- Support the work of the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center by making a donation here.
News on Genocide History and War Crimes
PBS 3/17/23 - International Criminal Court Issues Arrest Warrant for Putin over Ukraine War Crimes
ABC News 3/3/22 - Putin has been accused of committing war crimes. But could the International Criminal Court bring him to justice?
CNN 3/3/22 “Everything you need to know about war crimes and how Putin could be prosecuted” - Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN
Updated 12:27 PM ET, Fri March 4, 2022
USA Today 4/6/20 - Days before 26th anniversary of country's genocide, Rwanda finds mass grave that could contain 30,000 bodies
New York Times 3/20/19 - Radovan Karadzic Sentenced to Life for Bosnian War Crimes
New York Times 4/8/18 - Burning Eyes, Foaming Mouths: Years of Suspected Chemical Attacks in Syria
Genocide Awareness and Prevention Competition
HHREC 2022 Student Contest
For our third annual Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month Student Contest we received a total of 70 projects that were submitted by students from eight schools, including 3 from outside the Westchester County, NY area – Rotolo Middle School in Illinois, Greenwich High School in Connecticut and South Kamloops Secondary School in British Columbia, Canada, along with Byram Hills High School, Horace Greeley High School, New Rochelle High School, Somers High School and Valhalla High School from Westchester County.
The HHREC 2022 Genocide Awareness Month Student Contest Winners
Greenwich High School 9th Grade Student Award Winners Lorenzo Pugliese, Benjamin Adovasio, Maya Antipov
Photo credits: Courtney Hawes, Kathleen Mendez, Innovation Lab Humanities Teachers, Greenwich High School
Grades 7 & 8
First Place: William Hampson – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Art, “Targeted” meant to represent the innocent people targeted during the Cambodian Genocide
Second Place: Charlotte Johansen – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Art, “The Pink Triangle” depicting the LGBTQ community targeted by Hitler during the Holocaust
Third Place: Kaia Olberg – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Art and Poem,” Holodomor: We Will Remember” depicting the Ukrainian Famine of the 1930s
Jane Lishamer – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia Illinois
Original Art, “1.5 Million” memorializing the Cambodians killed by Pol Pot in the 1970s
Evan Bonnet – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Sculpture, “Persistence and Strength” of a hand symbolizing how the Tutsis reached out to the world for help during the Rwandan Genocide but none came.
Lily Enos – Rotolo Middle School – Batavia, Illinois
Original Art, “The Pink List” using rainbow stripes and symbols to represent homosexuals killed during the Holocaust
First Place: Maya Antipov – Greenwich High School
Original Art, “Left Behind” commemorating the victims of the war in Syria
Second Place: Benjamin Adovasio – Greenwich High School
Original Art Display, “The Ukrainian Conflict Memorial” commemorating the current atrocities taking place in Ukraine
Third Place: Sasha Peterson – Greenwich High School
Original Art, “The Hidden Genocide” depicting the Rohingya minority targeted by the government of Myanmar
Lorenzo Pugliese – Greenwich High School
The Uyghurs – Video depicting genocidal actions currently being taken by the Chinese government against this ethnic minority
First Place: Arianna Garcia – Byram Hills High School
Original Art, “The Price of Uyghur Labor” depicting the actions of the Chinese government again the Uyghurs
Second Place: Olivia Sherman – Somers High School
Original Art, “Auto-Genocide” memorializing the Victims of the Cambodian Genocide
Third Place: Tori Suarez – Somers High School
Original Art, “A Woman’s Perseverance” memorializing the women of Darfur, Sudan who have been victims of sexual assault and torture
Eileen Weisner – New Rochelle High School
Original Poem, “Is There a Choice” inspired by Elie Wiesel’s memoir, Night
Jackson Forsberg – Somers High School
Original Poem, “It Should Not Be This Way” memorializing the victims of the Bosnian Genocide
Mia Vieira – Horace Greeley High School
Original Poem, “Preservation” commemorating the female victims of the Holocaust
Grades 11 & 12
First Place: Claire Nevin – South Kamloops High School – British Columbia, Canada
Original Art, “Hope and Despair” depicting the butterfly which was a meaningful symbol to the people impacted by the Srebrenica Massacre during the Bosnian Genocide
Second Place: Ash Bruce – South Kamloops High School – British Columbia, Canada
Original Painting, “We Were Children” depicting the ongoing indigenous genocide in Canada
Third Place: Carly Orozco – South Kamloops High School – British Columbia, Canada
Original Poem/Art Display, “Share the Stories As We Must Not Forget” commemorating the Holodomor
Katie Chong – Valhalla High School
Original Poem, “Bashert” Meant to Be” documenting the life of a Holocaust survivor
Congratulations to our winners and to all the students and their teachers who so hard on their projects this year, we are proud of all of you and appreciate the effort you gave in making this a very special program!